I’m surprised it’s taken so long for footage of the animated Tales of the Black Freighter supplement to Watchmen to be released. Warner Brothers likely doesn’t need to distract from their campaign for the primary film by bloodying the waters with this animated interlude. But for the hardcore, the longtime faithful, this is a very necessary thing.

Truthfully, though, I’m ambivalent about this particular aspect of the story. I always found it to be among the more heavy handed and leaden aspects of the graphic novel. Relegating it to supplemental status with respect to the film is a good idea. At the same time, I don’t know if this story will play at all when removed from the larger context of the graphic novel. So I am deeply curious to see how the mix will play when this material is edited into the main Watchmen film to form a unified narrative.

That leaves me, though, deeply impressed with the fact that Zack Snyder got Warner Brothers to pop not only for this animated film, but the Under the Hood documentary that will accompany it on DVD a few days after Watchmen is released to theaters. We don’t often see a studio getting behind a suite of commercially unproven packaged material like this. For that alone, I love knowing the disc will exist at all.